Mizuki Hsu, BBI's Visiting International Research Fellow from Japan, visits Syracuse's Jowonio School

November 16, 2015

Mizuki outside Jowonio SchoolRecently, Mizuki Hsu, BBI's Visiting International Research Fellow from Japan, had the opportunity to visit  Syracuse's Jowonio School and provide insight into how an inclusive education in the U.S. may differ from Japan's education system. Jowonio School, is a non-profit pre-school with a focus on diversity and inclusion education. The children at Jowonio come from very diverse backgrounds.  Some of the differences are visually apparent such as the color of their eyes, the color of their skin, or their physical stature. Some of their differences are invisible such as their mother language or learning style. In addition to these differences, Jowonio School is home to many children with a variety of disabilities including Physical and Mobility disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy; Intellectual Developmental Disabilities such as Autism and Down syndrome, and hidden disabilities such as Mental Health or Emotional Disorders​. Jowonio also serves children that are Deaf or hard of hearing. All of these children are included in a regular class. The total number of students is approximately 170, and 68 students of them have disabilities.

Jowonio’s learning environment completely supports children's need and helps to grow their specialty. For example, multiple teachers are assigned in one classroom. The decorations of classroom help children to learn about the differences of their classmates. Full supported therapy service are provided by occupational therapists, speech therapists, and physical therapists. Jowonio’s also receive parents’ and community’s warm support.

Mizuki outside Jowonio School“Children grow as they look what adults do” People often say that in Japan where I was born and grew up. Children learn and acquire thinking and doing from adults around them. In Japan, we tend to separate the non-disabled and disabled children starting at education stage. Also more people think that talking about disability is a taboo. Those environments created by adults have a big impact on children. Although it is not easy to create a learning environment like Jowonio, we can still do a lot more things at each school and community. Children who can accept and respect individual’s difference and value would support the future of Japan strongly.

Read the entire article at  moonrider's blog